Finance n. The management of pecuniary [monetary,
Says: "Why do I save every penny? Why, because back in my day you could
buy an entire meal with a penny!"
Now to figure out just how you plan on paying for
all of this. Are you a millionaire philanthropist? If you are, Mister
Spiffy is proud of you. Just skip this part. If not, stay with me here.
Youll probably be needing some ideas on admission fees, dues, auctions, raffles
some good ways of financing the fun. Creating a budget, collecting money, and
using it appropriately are all-important aspects of a successful reunion. This is why
its important to have someone with a good aptitude for money and figures to act as a
treasurer. Also, not that Im suggesting anything about your family,
try to make sure your treasurer is well, fairly honest in his or her
dealings. You know what I mean? If you dont, just never mind.
Creating a Budget
Your first financial task as part of the reunion
committee is to create a budget for anything that is to be paid
for or reimbursed by the reunion committee. Make sure you include every little bitsy
teensy weensy item you can possibly think of to put on the budget, no matter how small it
may be. A lot of small items can add up in a hurry (remember what I told you about
all those postage stamps)? Plus, its always a good idea to allow a little bit
of leeway in the budget to cover any unexpected expenses. ("What? When did this sugar
price go up three cents a bag? I cant afford these three extra cents! My
budget cant handle it!")
Some expenses will be paid directly by your attending family members (i.e., travel,
hotel, perhaps a couple of meals, et cetera), so you dont need to budget for those.
But, do make sure that you specify what is and what isnt
included in the ticket price when you send out the invitations.
Once you have figured out just how much the reunion is
going to cost you, you have to determine just where you plan on getting said money.
Remember Mister Spiffy says be sensitive to the financial situation of your
attending family members. You dont want to plan a reunion that hardly anyone can
afford. Thats not much of a reunion at all just sitting around and talking to
yourself, or maybe Mister Spiffy. If you are planning a fancy or expensive reunion, such
as a cruise or some other special trip, make sure you give your relatives at least a year
or two advance notice so that they can save up, unless you feel like paying for them.
Charging an admission fee is one common way to fund your reunion. To figure out
the cost per person, fall back on your basic training in seventh grade math. Averages,
remember? If not, Mister Spiffy will supply you with the formula take your final
cost and divide it by the number of people attending. At this point you will have to do
some adjusting if you plan on creating special rates and/or discounts for seniors (senior
citizens, not seniors in high school or college) and small children. Explain completely in
your invitation mailers the ticket price (you know, cost per person or family) and spell
out in great detail what this does and does not include.
Always set a deadline sometime in advance of the reunion date by which at least a
percentage of the ticket price is required. Unless you want to cover the costs yourself
and just get paid back, you will be needing money for advance fees and deposits. Also, if
tickets are purchased in advance, people are less likely to cancel at the last moment.
Its how everyone functions. That way you wont end up with a lot of empty
chairs or uneaten food that you paid too much for.
Keep good and accurate records of how much money is collected from whom, what the
actual charges are for budgeted items and when you receive the money. Have a log of
expenses, such as long distance phone calls and postage. Using a spreadsheet or home
accounting software (if you can actually get the stupid program to work
Mister Spiffy always has a hard time with computers and their associates) will simplify
If you don't want to just collect money from each of
the relatives, you might want to do a little fund raising. Even if you do collect
dues or admissions, a little fund raising can earn some extra money to make your reunion a
little more "spiffy".
Holding an auction at your family reunion is another (and more creative, in
Mister Spiffys opinion) way to make money to support your family reunion. In fact,
if this is successful enough, you can often make enough money to help fund your next
reunion as well (or at least provide the seed money to get the present reunions
spawn started). Have each family member provide at least one item up for auction. Some
nice examples or fun ideas to get them started are the following:
- White elephant gifts
- Surprise bags
- Homemade crafts
- Baked goods or deserts
- Mister Spiffys favorite used doorknobs to add to his collection
Then just follow along the basic auction idea. Auction it off to the highest bidder;
its not too hard. As long as everyone realizes this is to help fund the reunion, it
can be fun even with the silliest auction items. Youd be surprised what people are
willing to pay for a pencil with a pom-pom glued on top when its all for a good
cause like fun, Mister-Spiffy-style family reunions.
A raffle can be a popular and successful fundraising activity. Have the reunion
committee purchase a few nice items, making sure that they would be popular with the
family members. Don't pick clothes, unless everyone in your family is the same size.
If youre camping, try a sleeping bag, lantern, or other camping gear that
they may be desperate for by that time. Then just sell raffle tickets, making sure
that you sell enough tickets at whatever price you choose (a buck or two, Id guess)
to cover the cost of the item youre raffling off and put a significant profit in for
Helpful Hints Keep an eye on your pennies. Those things have a tendency of
slipping away without you noticing, and the amounts disappearing grow as they are urged on
by peer pressure from all the other pennies. You must be very disciplined to stay
within your budget.